Unfortunately, all of my three teams lost yesterday. Gutted. This meant I was in a particularly foul mood which was only exacerbated by the omni-shambolic performances of the officials at this weekend’s Premier League matches.
Thankfully, it’s been a while since the major talking points of the weekend’s action were centred more around the official’s performances than that of the players or the quality of the games. In part, this has been due to the all the crap going on off the pitches of late, plus everyone was waiting for Wazza to score his 250th goal for United. Which, to be frank, was dragging its arse and boring the bejesus out of most decent folk. Now he has surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton’s tally I’d like to remind everyone his 195 in the Premier League is still 65(!!!) behind Shearer. At this rate, Wazza may get there season 2029/30. Here’s hoping he doesn’t try or we’ll be subjected to Martin Tyler for another 15 years or so.
Anyhow, I’m not sure if the recent phenomenon of decent officiating performances was a welcome byproduct of improved play across the matches? Perhaps the referees have been handling the critical incidents better as a result of their ongoing training and coaching within their PGMOL assessment regime? Let’s face it until this weekend more and more games appeared to have been ‘flowing’ unless of course, you are watching Middlesborough or United whose games; if you can call them that, are about as entertaining as a bout of necrotising enterocolitis. I can only surmise that Pepgate down the road is taking the pressure off the ‘moody one’ and that Moyes’s fling with the Mackems is making things a touch easier for Karanka.
There are of course notable exceptions to the rule and you don’t have to go much further than Mike Dean who has made more errors than Syntax of late, including 5 out of his last 6 reds being rescinded. To the extent, he was rightly banished to the Championship this weekend, where he officiated the gentle affair of Bradford v Leeds, and subsequently dropped another clanger by awarding a pen for a handball outside the box. If you can’t see it don’t give it you plum!
If I’m being generous to the rest of the elite ref group, perhaps the styles of certain matches are also being more accurately predicted and refs with certain attributes are being aligned to certain games that might suit them better? Gone are the days of Paul Allcock being asked to man up to a feisty London derby (who could forget the Di Canio staggered descent) or Phil Dowd being asked to officiate an end to end pace fest. Thank your Collina’s were not forced to endure 90 minutes of the inane antics of Jeff Winter, the general blindness of Dermot Gallagher or the ludicrous decisions often offered up by the David Elleray MBE, who was undoubtedly more worried about his autobiographical prowess than his ability to officiate effectively. The weird bit is that the officials have been making mistakes in every game since football began. BUT It’s an avoidable inconvenience and it’s no mystery that mistakes are first, more likely to occur because of the increased pace of the game and secondly, more prominent due to the multi-angle coverage kindly supplied by Sky et al.
So until FIFA extract digits from their rectal passage and get with the programme and adopt a rapid access-review system (as have most other commercially sensitive sports) it will always be so. There was me thinking that Gianni Infantino and the NextGen of megalomaniacs might be willing to move the game forward post-Blatter, but I guess they have more important stuff to do like challenging players who have retired and preventing them from playing for their club while they decide whether the player meant it or not.
It probably doesn’t help that certain managers are constantly bemoaning the errors made week in and week out but when they start to lie about specific incidents and blame referees for things they haven’t done, it’s no surprise that pressure builds and people are prone to making more mistakes. This is a human performance matter not a critique of neutrality.
As an example now that Jose’s taupe stained patch of form has petered out in back to back draws versus Liverpool and Stoke. If you analyse his performance at all the games they dropped points at this season, rather than adding some class and fessing up to poor play by his players, errors borne out of their style of play, getting the tactics wrong or even worst case admitting that the opposition was just better than them. Absolutely not, Jose’s prefers to latch on to the one isolated mistake in the game made by an official, which according to the ‘classless-one’ induces an instant and incomprehensible talent spasm that passes through the entire team like a Bangalore Phall and hence, the ensuing pony performance with the exception of the goal-mogging Swedish sociopath was the fault of the heinous ref and his crooked team.
Bring back Roger Milford I say.
Alas, there were too many incidents this weekend that were missed that should have been spotted and would have been with a decent review system in place.
Xhaka’s red card was straight red but he should have been off before that. Mustafi had a nailed on penalty claim on him from Gray. How many minutes added on? Also, there shouldn’t have been any further added time in injury time after the Burnley penalty, as it was Arsene who caused the issues/fracas and refused to go to the stand, plus Giroud was clearly offside.
In the Chelsea game, there was a clear foul by Cahill on Abel Hernandez in the run up to Costa’s opener and Marcos Alonso gave away a clear pen on the same player minutes later.
At the Etihad, Mariner (who looked all over the gaff) missed Sane’s handball in the area and a stonewall pen on Sterling by Walker and what made matters worse was that Spurs flew down the other end to equalise. And, finally, Coleman’s winner at Palace was also clearly offside.
Come on FIFA sort it out, enough is enough because we are all tired of Wenger telling us is balances itself out at the end of the season and Jose criticising everything else but his own tactics or players.